This is an excerpt from my journal that seemed worth publishing. Without the editing and polish I would normally give to written work, it is a thick read and concludes almost nothing, so consume at your own risk.
2017-01-20 1:01 PM - Las Vegas, NV, dinner table at grandparents’ house, watching numbers scroll by for work; Sennheisers blocking audio from FOX News coverage of inaugural festivities; television still two-third’s within eyeshot when I turn right.
What do we say, what do we say…
I know many people who either like Trump or like who he is not, but I’ve spent the inauguration and lead-up thereto with a greater concentration of them than usual. The situation is making me think about this show more than I expected or wanted to. I suspect I’m the closest thing this house has to a lefty in it right now, but I can’t bring myself to stand athwart the occasion. In the same way that being six-foot-four with a stern face permits me to walk almost anywhere without being fucked with, the calculus in my cadence keeps just about all verbal jabs in my direction oblique, but this moment is better used for observation than intervention in light of how little good the latter did in keeping this from happening. Whether any of my comrades want to give Trump a chance, the man has laid his hands on it. No one in this house appears upset about that. Grandpa calls Obama a “Muslim communist puppet” and everyone laughs for what feels like different reasons (except Grandma, who sighs at hearing this now for the millionth time). Party and room politics.
There’s been relatively little conversation overall besides the echo chamber emanating from the TV but, at varying magnitudes—from jovial prodding to genuine hopefulness to the previous conspiratorial flak barrage—comments bounce around the walls, colliding with everyone at different angles. Anything you want confirmed about those who like Trump is within earshot of this table as a reaction to one thing or another on the screen (not to mention the screen itself). Opinions on economics, dynastic cronyism, racism, healthcare, journalism, business credentials, foreign affairs, protesting. Views heartfelt and callous; informed and rationalized. Many of them feel painfully biased and self-unaware, but I stand and weigh them in silence the way I did last weekend pacing the San Jose Convention Center hearing a film negative of these attitudes from every furry I passed. Truing the discourse tends to be more productive on the left, but it is not easier. Everyone cares and hates and rationalizes the living shit out of everything.
This is all a form of despair speaking at the moment. I am measurably quicker to assume a grievance voiced by a liberal is more honest than one from a conservative, but anything I try to assert above some bone basic premises makes the spectator in my head sneer. If it’s not the premise, it’s the data; if it’s not the data, it’s the method. Round and round. To lay down your shovel at any depth on your way through alternating layers of liberal and conservative moral gravel feels like laziness, but it behooves me to stop and fight at some point, doesn’t it? To elect a cause that feels not perfect but at least good and pursue it, employing excess introspection to keep from veering off-course rather than to paralyze me?
The FOX commentators keep referring to the “peaceful transition of power”. At the state level it was pretty peaceful, wasn’t it? Speeches and songs. The people who run the country at the highest level have been replaced by people who were running the country at lower levels. One hand washes the other. Everything will probably be okay. For people like me. The same way it was under Obama and Bush. The same way it would have been under Clinton or Romney. If something important cracks in the next four years, the idiot-savant spin doctor who now works the desk in the Oval Office might make it worse but he almost certainly won’t be the prime mover. Too fatalist? Probably, but until the Democratic Party feels a stronger urge to support rather than market to liberalism—progressive or otherwise—I’m going to keep digging.
None of this is what I wanted to say, but I need to stop typing before I give myself vertigo talking in circles like this.